My 5 favorite spots to unwind in Eastern Crete

Whether you are looking for the perfect place to relax with a cocktail, a deserted beach to soak up the sun or a small village hotel to chill by the pool, the eastern part of Crete,  from Heraklion to Lasithi provinces has it all figured out for you with many wonderful spots to explore during your Greek holidays.

  1. Agios Nikolaos – This adorable little fisherman village in the Lasithi province display a large promenade by the old harbor/ town all the way to lake Voulismeni where coexist bars, restaurants and many little market stands . My found to chill and relax by the water with all necessities at the tip of the finger is Kimzu Sea Lounge. Food was not the best for my “hard to please” taste buds, but the staff is great and the location is just nothing other than a fantastic beach front park  with amazing view of the bay, eager to provide a relaxing and zen beach atmospher and  experience within the city. 

  •  Elounda –  Just a short 12 km drive north of Agios Nikolaos, Elounda was made famous from the celebrities who had fallen in love with it’s various villages and facets including the deserted island of Elounda where the crystal clear waters will call in any mermaids. 

  • The  more popular Island of Spinalonga ancient Venetian fort transformed in the 1900 into a leper colony is a short boat ride away.  You can live the Elounda dream on this merely deserted island at the one and only habitation Elounda island villa

    After soaking up the sun you will surely love to enjoy a nice lunch or better, a romantic dinner at the one and only restaurant there called Kanali , located at the start of the peninsula right after the salt pan after passing an old stone bridge with two windmills from the early 1900. The surrounding of the restaurant is to be explored as it sits on the ruins of the ancient city of Oloundas. You can even access directly to the restaurant by boat using the old Canal build by the french to facilitate the navigation between Elounda and Agios Nikolaos back in the days.

  • Koutouloufari – Little village became big when many hotels and resorts started to pop up on the higher side of the hill to lighten up the already pretty crowded sea side. Catering to the tourism and leisure, you will for sure find anything to entertain yourself in Koutouloufari, Piskopiano and the third more renoun  village of Hersonissos. Yet while you can easily forget about being in Greece, due to the amount of English speaker you will pass by as you scroll down the streets, the minute you step foot in the small  boutique hotel called Villa Ippocampi 

  • you will instantly feel like you are either home of visiting your old Greek friends or relatives. As you walk in you will be greeted by a  blue sky welcome cocktail and the amazing smile of one the girls from the staff. Lydia the owner, devotes her time and attention to create a serene and tasteful decor and  ambiance while making sure you are feeling welcome and home during your entire stay. 

     No doubt that you will enjoy, relax and rest in the most pleasant atmosphere at Villa Ippocampi, as it is the quintessential adult retreat in the area.

  • Kapetaniana – You will not stop by while passing through this village but if you you drove all the way up there, turn right 500 meters before it and you will discover the enchanted village of Thalori. Once a traditional village, Thalori villagers deserted it for the call of the big city and left behind a few abandoned housed and a hand full of irreducible. One family convinced of a better life than  what the city had to offer, bought and restored some of  the deserted house one by one and turn them into the most unnoticeable hotel complex. 

  • For sure as you scroll around the village you will notice some houses looking nicer than others, but the fact is that this family’s action to bring life back to the village as lift up the entire community and recreated a balance and lively energy around a centered restaurant, where you will find villagers drink coffee or Raki at the end of the day. Thalori is the perfect place to unwind and take the time to enjoy the simple things in life such as horseback ridding, trekking up the mountains, yoga, meditation as well as enjoying the most  awesome organic food.

  • Mont Dictee and Zeus’ cave – in the middle of the island hidden between mountains is the Lasithi plateau. 

  • Not only the location itself release some kind of divine serenity, but knowing that Rhéa, Zeus‘ mother climbed up to this plateau to give birth to him and keep him from being eaten by his own father Kronos, (for sure you will have to read this part of the mythology if you don’t know it), 

    makes the place even more magical. At the center of the town’s place where you will start your journey to the cave you will notice some donkeys. Don’t hesitate to pay 10 Eur for the one way ride up, not only it will ease your legs before you attack the equivalent of a 30 stories climb down and up into the cave but it is also the only way the surrounding villagers found to keep this animal alive on the island. 

    True, over 50 years ago Crete could count a donkey population of over half a million, but in modern time they no longer have use for them, and today the population dropped to  a mere 14 thousand  head stock  so the local found this use for them during the summer. Rest assure they are well treated an never climb more than 6 times a day and spent the rest of the year eating and sleeping. You can ready more about their life and how they are being rescued in Crete by clicking to the link here donkey-rescue.

    We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us… Anonymous

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